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I read the newspaper advertisements all about how easy it was to buy merchandise with no credit needed, no down payment.

Saturday morning I decided not to shave, dressed in my old faded blue Jeans and torn windbreaker and made my way over to one of the local Easyhome stores.

The welcoming sign guaranteed that you can "get it with no credit"a 32" Sony TV for only $12.99. There is some very small print that I had a hard time to read, per week. Wow, what a deal.

I strolled into the store and was greeted by, a very friendly sales clerk who offered to answer all of my questions.

She even handed me a "Welcome" glossy pamphlet, "Get what you want, for as long as you want. Itís so easy! Need new stuff? No down payment. Delivered today."

This had to be the deal of a life time. Karen told me that for the low, low weekly payment of $12.99 plus $3.60 per week to cover the HST and Liability Insurance, the television would be delivered right to my apartment, There is one time processing fee of $22.60 to cover the administration fees I tried to do the math in my head but was counselled: "not to bother itís too scary."

I nearly forgot to tell you that the sales contract ran for 156 weeks that adds up to a scary $2,340 for a small television. Best Buy has the same televison in stock for $299.00 plus HST

They promise -"At E-Zee-Rent-to-Own you can get the furniture, appliances, electronics, and computers that you want and need right now for as long as you want ... weekly, monthly, yearly or forever." I am scared at the forever bit.

An Easyhome customer order form was part of the package. Along with the regular credit information they wanted the names of my three closest relatives. You need a total of six references who can attest that your address, employment information is accurate.

All installments are to be made in one of the 138 stores across Canada. Visa, Master, debit cards and of course cash is welcomed. No cheques wanted.

All obligations are due on Saturday. If you show up on Monday there is a late fee of $10.00 plus of course HST. Seven days of delinquency they repossess your stuff.

Easyhome has a "Satisfaction Guaranteed commitment. "Your satisfaction is our #1 priority." "We have made it easy for you to get exactly what you want for as long as you want, right now." They even want to "offer you $50 for every new customer you introduce to us." "There is no limit, the more customers you refer the more you can earn." Hey, what are friends for?

It seems that the most vulnerable, without the o.a.c.(on acceptable credit) designation, can get hurt if they do not read/ understand the fine print.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com